“New Drawings 2018-2019” is the title of the solo show that José Antonio Suárez Londoño has created for the exhibition spaces of Galleria Continua.
For the Colombian artist, drawing is a daily activity that he practises rigorously in silence and solitude. From the Seventies onwards, using watercolour, pencil, and ink drawings and etching, Suárez Londoño has produced a rich body of work spawning a sort of inventory of the world – a poetic and visionary diary composed of images, accompanied at times by miniscule hand-written notes in French, English or Spanish. Vases, maps, animals, intertwining figures, plants, mechanical forms, letters, numbered indices of bells and clouds, and dancers are only a few of the subjects that inspire his works.
Suárez Londoño’s work abounds with references and cross-references to writers, artists, objects, songs, news items and proverbs. His notebooks draw inspiration from an enormously wide range of literary sources: the diaries of Franz Kafka and Paul Klee; Ovid’s Metamorphoses; My Name is Red by Orhan Pamuk; The Rings of Saturn by W.G. Sebald; the poetry of Blaise Cendrars, Arthur Rimbaud and Patti Smith; and Paul Klee once again, Edgar Degas, Rembrandt, Van Rijin, Rainer Maria Rilke, Arthur Rimbaud, Sam Shepard, Salvador Pániker and numerous authors of the Beat Generation.
Drawing is an act for which the artist employs not only the intimate space of the notepad or a sheet of A4, but also a variety of other surfaces that happen to cross his path - fragments of the materials that lie around his studio such as business cards, flower petals, ticket stubs and tea bags. For the first time, in the San Gimignano show, José Antonio Suárez Londoño experiments with formats on a larger scale and presents a collection of previously unseen drawings carried out between 2018 and 2019. Additionally, the artist exhibits 365 drawings, realised daily from 1st January to 31st December 1999 and born out of his reading of The Journal of Eugene Delacroix (Phaidon edition) – the diary of arguably the greatest exponent of the French Romantic period, Eugene Delacroix – which contains studies of some of the subjects most dear to this painter from beyond the Alps, along with sketches inspired by moments from his daily life.
José Antonio Suárez Londoño was born in 1955 in Medellín, Colombia, where he lives and works. Upon finishing his studies in Biology at the University of Antioquia, he attended the École Supérieure des Arts Visuels in Geneva from 1978 to 1984. Some of his most important international exhibitions include: The Yearbooks, Drawing Center, New York, USA (2012) and The Modern Myth: Drawing Mythologies in Modern Times, MoMA, New York, USA (2010). His works are found in collections at the Banco de la República, Colombia; the Graphische Sammlung Albertina, Vienna, Austria; the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), New York, USA and in numerous private collections in Germany, Brazil, Great Britain, the United States and Colombia. He took part in the 24th and 32nd San Paolo Biennial in Brazil. In Italy, he exhibited for the first time in 2013 as part of the 55th Venice Biennial.